Can you really get rid of muskrats in a pond? This may sound ridiculous, but the answer is “Yes” with a “No.”
Far too often, people attempt to thwart unruly little critters who play havoc with their ponds when hey least expect it. In fact, most people would think that is impossible, but that is not the case.
Muskrats actually pose more of a threat when they are left unchecked.
While a colony may be of little concern to a pond owner, a single muskrat can cause a significant amount of damage.
These include destroying plants, littering, and even spreading disease.
Are Muskrats Good or Bad for Your Pond?
They certainly do not endanger human health or life, but their presence in ponds and lakes can sometimes cause erosion and flooding.
If it’s a huge natural pond or lake, their presence in it can actually be beneficial. Aquatic plants need nitrogen, and muskrats have the ability to absorb it from the soil.
Muskrats will happily consume aquatic plants as their food. However, their burrowing activity contributes both to their angiosperm consumption as well as to their habitat destruction.
They limit the exponential development by devouring aquatic plants.
On the negative, by excavating their home underwater around the underwater vegetation, muskrats cause too much oxygen depletion.
This may prevent other plants from growing, and also reduce the growth of algae, which includes the primary source of food for fish.
How to Get Rid of Muskrats and Keep Them Away In Your Pond?
Don’t grow the food for muskrats
If you’re wondering why muskrats want to swim in your pond in the first place, it’s because they tend to favor areas with high oxygen levels.
They also like cool, still water so they can stay cool during the warm summer months.
As a result, take special care that none of the food you take out of the pond ends up in the dirt.
Also, make sure that you do not overfeed the fish. This can cause them to become overpopulated, and they will also attract muskrats.
Muskrats can cause significant damage to your aquatic plants. If you have muskrats in your pond, they may even eat your landscaping.
When they discover that their food supply is short, they will begin eating plants.
This can cause your aquatic plants to die. Their favorite foods are duckweed, garlic mustard, and pondweed.
Some species are also very fond of pond lilies.
Attract natural predators
Muskrats are also a food source for birds and other animals. The muskrats and other animals share the population of muskrat carcasses.
As a result, many natural predators are attracted to the muskrat, making it nearly impossible for the muskrat to survive without natural predators.
You may also keep owls, cats, or snakes as pets and feed them.
Using a humane method to Trap them
You may catch muskrats using live fish, (usually goldfish or minnows), or minnow traps.
Traps should include enough food, water, and shelter, and they should be camouflaged so that they blend in with the environment.
They will get trapped in the cage trap in a matter of seconds.
You can use poison for your trap. Although this is a humane method, this may harm more muskrats than removing them.
Always check the traps in daytime, since muskrats are active then. When the bait is in place, wait for the muskrat to nibble the bait. When the muskrat touches the bait, the trapdoor will snap shut.
To avoid greater suffering or death, keep traps in secure locations that have easy access.
You might also consider putting a fence that reaches about 12-15 feet high or two feet high around your garden.
Keep in mind that muskrats are shy animals, and they don’t like having their space invaded. You should never raise your fence more than a foot above the ground, because the muskrats will still be able to jump over it.
You can put some rocks or gravel on the ground next to the fence to further deter the muskrats.
When putting up the perimeter fence, make sure to make entrances to the pond or lake on both sides of the fence.
Muskrats want a quiet place to thrive, so putting up perimeter fencing will keep them away from your pond.
The muskrats aren’t terrific climbers or jumpers, so a low fence will suffice.
The perimeter should be at least five or six feet away from the wall, because muskrats like to feed near the wall. If the wall is placed too close, the muskrats will eat the fruit and flowers.
The muskrats will eat the fruit and flowers.
Liner to cover banks
Another option is to use a pond cover or solid fencing for the bottom of the bank. Once you have completed this, the muskrats should be gone for good.
Make sure there are at least four inches of liner protruding from the bank, as this creates a waterproof barrier.
Fill any gaps with gravel or stones if necessary. Once the liner has been secured (usually with rope), begin filling the trench with water.
Also, make sure there are no gaps between the liner and the shoreline.
Place the liner covering the pond’s perimeter, starting upstream. Leave a few feet of space between the edge of the liner and the water.
This may be an effective approach , but it can be quite hard work.
Getting the corners to stay in place while you set the net up is a nuisance but not impossible. If you’re not good at tying knots, you probably shouldn’t consider this option.
All you have to do now is wait.
Muskrats usually jump into the water once they see people approaching. The net will induce panic in them and they will eventually jump out.
Whenever they are trapped, you can throw the net into the water and pick it up.
Make sure all of the edges of the net are securely in place to prevent the animals from escaping.
Place a net in the middle of the pond if the area is small. You can also put the net around the edges and use a bait of peanut butter, hot dogs, or jelly to lure the muskrats.
Set the net so it starts to sink slowly. When the muskrats start swimming toward it, get the net and pull it away from the pond.
Call a professional trapper
Trapping of muskrats is illegal in many states and territories.
As a result, it’s best if traps are used rather than poisons.
You may always contact the wildlife agency in your area to get information about trapping Muskrats.
Pest control companies with knowledge of trapping muskrats should have several traps on hand.
These traps will provide the best opportunity to remove the muskrats safely from your property.
Also Read: Are Muskrats Dangerous?
Before you head off to enjoy your pond, you will need to go about getting rid of muskrats from the ornamental pond.
Here I will give you a few pointers about how to get rid of them, but first you need to get rid of them in the first place.
You will need to have an idea of a few places within or outside your pond that they are likely living.
If you want them gone, you will have to catch them first.